DETOXIFY: (verb) [ dee-tok-suh-fahy]
To make something less poisonous or harmful. It may refer to the process of removing toxins, poisons, or other harmful substances from the body.
This is THE goal as you create your strategic plan for healing and working through the oncology treatment process to get on the other side of this disease.
Oncology skincare is now a specialty in the field of aesthetics and has so much to offer cancer patients and those recovering from cancer treatments to mitigate the side effects of oncology treatments and help correct and minimize the damaging physical effects of cancer treatments. A cancer diagnosis can have a devastating impact on the entire body and the skin can be hit very hard with side effects that further damage a person’s self-image and appearance making healing even more challenging.
Chemotherapy, radiation and the side effects of drug therapy kills cancer cells, however, this leads to side effects such as extreme dryness, loss of elasticity, itching, peeling, rashes, bruising, redness, scaling and skin discoloration. Chemotherapy in particular changes the system so much, products and treatments that once worked very well are too often not tolerated at all. This can be so frustrating and stressful…how do you continue to care for your skin and what is safe and effective to use at this point? What DO you do?
First, help the body flush as many toxins out of the system as possible topically and internally and avoid (at all cost) adding MORE chemicals and synthetic ingredients to your system…
The body needs all the help it can get to flush out all the dead cells left over from the chemo killing them off, and it also needs help flushing the chemo medications out of the system, so they don’t damage to healthy cells. Key Strategy? Ditch ALL chemical products – inside and out to reduce the toxic load on your body.
Cleanse and Detoxify!
Remember – we are talking skincare strategies here, BUT – since the word “detox” is used so loosely in all forms of wellness marketing these days, it is super important to understand what this word REALLY means before we start talking about it in skincare…knowledge is power.
There are several types of toxic buildup in the body that need to be dealt with when addressing the flood of chemicals in your system used to fight cancer. First, there is cellular toxicity caused by the shunting of toxins into cells due to excess acid in the blood, and the inability to release toxins in the cells for that very same reason.
Next, comes heavy metal and chemical toxicity…these come from years of exposure to highly toxic heavy metals and chemicals found in cosmetics, personal care products, and skincare – just to name a few. While many come from the environment, silver amalgam fillings, many treatments, and some other drugs add mercury and other toxins into our body. Most large fish have elevated mercury levels. Elevated levels of heavy metals disrupt the immune system and must be dealt with when fighting cancer.
And then there is the toxic build-up in the colon. Poor diets and sluggish digestive systems lead to undigested foods and hardened fecal matter in the large intestine and dramatically disrupts the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Toxins are reabsorbed back into the body and the bloodstream, putting further stress on the liver’s ability to filter chemicals from the blood. This puts constant stress on the immune system and an even heavier load on the body’s detoxification systems. Colon cleansing and gut health are priority #1 on the road to healing!
So what does this have to do with your skin? EVERYTHING!!!!
Dermal toxicity is a direct result of oncology treatment and negatively impacts the skin’s texture, color, and elasticity due to the massive chemical overload on the system.
What are the major channels of detoxification in the body?
Major channels of detoxification play very important roles in the balance between sickness and wellness. Learn about these channels to better understand detoxification and cancer.
Blood moving through the cardiovascular system is the key transportation system in the body bringing nutrients and oxygen to the cells and flushing away waste products and toxins.
The colon is the final place in the body where waste travels before being eliminated by the bowels. A healthy digestive tract is necessary so toxins do not leak through to re-circulate and instead are expelled from the body.
The kidneys provide an advanced filtering system to eliminate waste through urine, including dissolved acid wastes that impact blood chemistry.
The liver serves as the manager of the entire detoxification process. Key functions include clearing chemicals produced inside the body and toxic molecules that invade from outside the body.
The lungs dispel toxins with every exhalation. Chief among these toxins is carbon dioxide, a byproduct of respiration. The lungs’ lining of mucus and cilia (small hairs that capture airborne particles) help prevent toxins from entering the body. The lungs introduce oxygen into the bloodstream. The muscular contractions involved in breathing help to transport lymph and blood, as well as balance the nervous system.
Lymph, a clear fluid-filled with immune cells called lymphocytes, moves around the body in a series of vessels that parallel the paths of the veins. Lymph delivers nutrients and collects cellular waste to help destroy disease-causing substances.
The elimination organ with the largest surface area, the skin is a protective shield that keeps toxins from entering the body and eliminates cellular waste.
OK…And What about Skin Care Ingredients?
Choose gentle, calming products and remember, cleansing and detoxification is top priority! Avoid products that contain AHAs, harsh scrubs and detergent foaming products.
For most people with sensitive skin, the ultra-soothing Cleanse and Calm by Sunshine Botanicals is an organic, milky cleanser that doubles as an eye make-up remover to hydrate and calm the skin.
Redness Relief Bar is chock full of skin detoxifying herbs such as burdock root, pau d’ arco, licorice root, and whole leaf aloe vera, and effectively soothes the skin AND detoxifies the epidermis. These beautiful ingredients also help fight fungus and candida that often go along with inflamed skin conditions and is great for face and body, and excellent for vaginal cleansing. The first line of defense of any skin cleansing routine is to minimize or preferably eliminate all contact with chlorinated water. Chlorine is poison to a healthy body and especially destructive for cancer patients. Consider a chlorine filter for your showerhead to assist the detoxification process.
To hydrate and moisturize, essential fatty acids (Omega 3s) such as grapeseed oil, wheat germ oil, evening primrose, and olive oil are very nourishing to super stressed skin. Botanical extracts of calendula, comfrey, lemon balm, and whole leaf aloe vera are a must on an ingredient label for soothing and healing, and look for ingredients of Oregon grape root, plantain herb and jewelweed to fight rashes, eczema and radiation dermatitis and the intense itch that the skin can experience during treatment. Sunshine Botanicals Rapid Repair Fluid, The Elixir, and Rapid Repair Balm are excellent sources of these condition-specific ingredients.
In your pursuit of non-toxic products, discontinue the use of “top sensitizers,” which include synthetic fragrance (even in perfumed laundry products), nail polish, and acrylic nails (which can cause horrible rashes), hair sprays, and permanent hair dyes.
Simple Steps to Help Soothe, Heal and Regenerate Compromised Skin Conditions:
Cleanse and Detoxify:
Goal: To deeply cleanse the skin, clear congested pores so the skin can breathe, maintaining a healthy skin pH to reduce redness and irritation.
Exfoliate: Yes – you can exfoliate super sensitive skin IF you use the right ingredients!
Goal: Cancer treatments can leave the skin super dry and scaly – dulling the “glow” a healthy skin should have. Oat beta-glucan, steam distilled rose flower oil and ylang-ylang promote cellular turnover and hydrolyzed oat protein are powerful ingredients that have been clinically proven to increase hydration, calm inflammation and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. Oat beta-glucan is capable of both penetrating deep and delivering significant skin benefits – primarily enhancing collagen production and reducing inflammation. When you combine organic jojoba wax beads and plant enzymes with these nourishing ingredients, you can safely whisk away the cellular debris that dulls the skin of oncology patients – safely and very effectively.
Tools: The Daily Glow
Goal: Think outside the moisturizer! Healthy skin needs a balance of water and oil, and the best balance of those two elements ingredients combined with specific healing botanicals can be a game-changer for stressed and devitalized skins. Spritz your skin with Hydrating Recovery Mist BEFORE applying a moisture fluid or balm for maximum hydration and absorption and mist again mid-day for an extra hydrating, skin healing boost! Always, always apply moisture to damp skin for optimal results. Essential fatty acids, vital lipids, and nut butters are especially important for compromised skins. Don’t forget your hands and feet. Fissure cracks are all too common for many cancer patients and Rapid Repair Balm is perfect for dry skin issues from head to toe.
Goal: A side effect of chemotherapy that many cancer patients express they feel the most is sun sensitivity. This “photosensitivity” occurs because agents in chemotherapy are radiosensitizers which help to impact treatment, but also increase the body’s sensitivity to UV rays. A little bit of sunshine can be beneficial since the sun provides Vitamin D for strong bones, but too much exposure during chemotherapy can be dangerous and increase your risk of sunburn. Photosensitivity can start immediately after your first treatment and last for a few months post-treatment. Several kinds of medications (for cancer and non-cancer alike) can also increase sun sensitivity; so ask your physician and pharmacist if you’re taking any medications that fall in this category. With all known cancer-causing ingredients in commercial sun products, how do you know where to turn for protection? Let’s start here: Contrary to popular belief, sunscreen and sunblock are not the same things…
SUNSCREEN contains materials that act as a filter to allow a certain range of UV light to be absorbed into the skin. Studies have proven a majority of these ingredients to be toxic and/or carcinogenic.
SUNBLOCK contains materials (usually minerals) that reflect and scatter the UV light and acts a wall between damaging UV rays and your skin.
It is also important to understand that higher altitudes intensify the sun’s damaging effects. For every 1,000-foot increase in altitude, the sun’s potency increases by 4%. Don’t forget the sunblock when you’re skiing!
Sunscreens that use titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as the active ingredient as opposed to OTC sunscreens are both highly effective and non-irritating, making these highly preferred options for anyone looking for healthy sun protection. These ingredients are also the preferred option for those with highly reactive, sensitive skin, as well as rosacea and acne conditions.
Other groundbreaking ingredients to look for in a healthy sun protection formula include: Betula Alba (white birch bark extract) and potent topical antioxidants including superoxide dismutase and Vitamins C and E, to name the top 4. These vital nutrients should also be included in your diet and nutritional supplements as well to help provide the raw materials necessary to help protect the skin from environmental aggressors.
Sunshine Botanicals Total Eclipse BB Cream combines all of these benefits into one single, easy step.
Our environment is more aggressive and hostile than ever, and careful consideration must be given to the care and protection of your skin to prevent accelerated aging and prevent cancerous conditions from occurring.